June is just around the corner, and there is no getting away from the fact that summer is almost upon us. Our lifestyles often change through the seasons, and the summer brings with it greater outdoor living as we embrace the warmer temperatures and longer hours of sunshine.
Our pets live alongside us, and we are responsible for their health and safety all year round. Some of the ways in which we look after our animals may also change to reflect the new challenges that summer brings. Here are some of the biggest elements of pet care to consider in the summer months:
Keeping your pet cool
One of your biggest priorities should be finding ways to keep your pet cool. While some animals don’t seem to mind the heat, getting too hot could cause your pet to become ill. Dehydration and heatstroke are not uncommon reasons for pet owners to seek emergency veterinary care.
Dehydration occurs when your pet’s body uses and loses more fluid than usual, which normally stems from increased sweating. Although pets don’t sweat like we do, dogs and cats lose moisture through the pads on their paws.
If they don’t consume enough fluid to replace what has been lost, dehydration can set in, which if not rectified quickly could put your animal’s health and even life at risk. Similarly, heatstroke, which occurs when your pet is unable to reduce her body temperature, is also a life-threatening condition that can cause irreparable damage to her internal organs.
To keep your pet safe from both dehydration and heat stroke:
Provide plenty of fresh, cool water around the clock
Put ice cubes in water dishes to help cool them down
Ensure there are cool, shady areas in your house for your pet to retreat
Encourage her to stay out of direct sunlight
Keep indoors during the hottest part of the day
Keep windows open and help the air to circulate using fans
If possible, elevate bed so air can circulate underneath it
Use cool, damp cloths over fur to lower body temperature
If you have a dog, encourage her to take supervised dips in the water, be it a pool in your yard or a shallow part of a nearby lake or river.
Protect her from sunburn
Many owners don’t realize their pets can be affected by sunburn too. The most susceptible areas are their nose, ears, and abdomen. Fortunately, you can buy pet sunscreen, and this should be applied to your furbaby, before spending time in the sun. Make sure your pet is indoors and out of direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day.
Similarly, if you are planning on taking your pet for a walk, stick to the coolest parts of the day. Walking on roasting sidewalks could burn the delicate paw pads and leave her in a great deal of pain.
Don’t leave her in a vehicle
If you take your pet with you when you go out, it can be tempting to leave them in the car while you pop into the store or run other errands. However, as you probably know already, doing so can be deadly. When the outside temperature is 80 degrees, a vehicle can heat up to 99 degrees in just ten minutes. Imagine how hot it will get in your car if the outside temperatures are even higher, or if you leave your pet longer. Parked cars are death traps for animals if it is even remotely warm out, so if you can’t take your animal with you, don’t take it at all
Want to learn more tips for keeping your pet safe in the hot summer months? Ask our experienced veterinary staff at your next pet wellness exam. Call Pet Wellness Clinics today!